The beginnings and the future of UX: What do the stars of WebExpo think?

Monika Trojanová
Aug 18, 2017 · 6 min read

Who was obsessed with UX from childhood? And who drew comics along the way?

Hats off to the work of the designers coming to this year’s 10th edition of WebExpo. We asked three of them what they think about the past and future of UX. And their answers suggest that you’ll be glued to your seats for their talks.

Philip Bonnard: Enjoying your bank experience

When it comes to customer convenience, UXPhil is in a class of his own. In addition to his expertise, we admire his spirit for jumping into design in areas that are off-limits. For example, he’s worked in the academic sphere, large consulting companies, and banks. During our short interview, he threw in a few hints, which he will definitely expand on during his talk.

Phil, when did you first hear about UX?

The first time I heard about UX was during my Computer Science Masters, when I took a module called Human Computer Interaction. I learned that there is an entire science that combines elements of psychology and computer science, both of which I was fascinated by.

Ultimately hardware / software is built to help people and therefore making sure that we build them in a way that they meet user needs just makes sense.

In recent years, what has been the biggest UX challenge?

I think the ubiquity of technology in every aspect of life makes it necessary to truly think about how people interact with it in a multichannel way. That means through mobiles, TVs, voice recognition, tablets, internet of things and many many other devices, some small, some big.

As a result UX design needs to consider not just one UI, but many different interaction and input / output mechanisms, including touch, voice, mouse and other haptics.

Do you think that artificial intelligence will replace UX designers?

I think some best practice on design can be standardised. But overall, we’re still designing for humans and humans are complicated and often unpredictable. Therefore I don’t think UX designers will be replaced by AI, but we will replace a lot of other services, which were previously done by humans through AI. And designing that right so people trust those services will an immensely interesting challenge!

What’s Phil going to speak about: The Ultimate Bank Robbery — How Fintech Startups are Killing Highstreet Banks

Do you also think that banks are fossilized institutions with prehistoric websites? Phil explains how young startup banks have overtaken these old-school institutions. They put customer satisfaction first and as a result, customers are flocking to them by the thousands.

In this talk, you’ll discover an approach to thinking that will favor your business and what you need to change to make sure you don’t get ranked among the other dinosaurs.

Sagit Siegal: Comics on the way to UX

We won’t sugar coat it — UXers sometimes really miss the mark. That’s why UX guide Sagit Siegal is here — she can guide every team with the right process and when necessary, get them out when they’ve hit a dead end. We’re excited that she’s headed to this year’s WebExpo where she’ll be explaining another part of the imaginary UX map. But how did she get started and what does she predict for her industry?

Sagit, what UX challenges have you faced in the last 5 years?

I think the biggest challenge is still educating the business markets about the importance of UX.

I still see that a lot of companies put the technology in the center of their business forgetting that at the end of the line, there is a human being sitting with their computer/tablet/phone and they just want it to WORK. No matter how cutting edge the technology is — if a human being cannot understand how to work with it — it does not matter. This is a simple concept but it is very hard to make people really understand it.

Do you think artificial intelligence will replace UX designers?

I cannot say it will be replaced by AI, because creativity and thinking out-of-the-box are still things that do not exist in AI. I work in an R&D center of Thomson Reuters where we basically teach computers to read and understand the context. The results are amazing but I see how much effort is put into this and what a long development process is needed for this.

In the UX field I don’t think we can be replaced so easily by computers but I think it will affect our business and change how we work. How exactly? I am not sure. Nobody is.

Anyway how did you get into UX?

So many people have asked me this question that about 2 years ago, I created a comic.:)

What’s Sagit going to speak about: What Language Does Your Product Really Speak?

If Google Translator was a person, it would be sitting in the front row at this talk. Sagit will share her experience, specifically how English (as a second language) can impact user experience. She’ll focus on the possible causes of user difficulties and show you the hacks to remove them.

Emanuela Damiani: Talent from toddlerhood

The design of the browser Firefox is truly in the hands of Emanuela. At Mozilla, they know that she’s the absolute leader of innovative product enhancements. And as we discovered, she’s had a taste for improving services from an early age.

How did you get into UX design?

Can’t remember. I’ve always been looking at the experiences of product and services. I’ve been a very pedantic child always pushing for improving whatever situation I found around me.

How did you build on that?

I started to play on the internet when I was young. I liked the idea of re-shaping and created new things. And after a while, it wasn’t so difficult to start to find people who were willing to pay me money for what I knew.

Do you think that UX designers will be replaced by artificial intelligence?

I hope so, but I don’t think it will happen soon.

What’s Emanuela going to speak about: Scale your design up

Who is left to make decisions in an era where everything is becoming just a line of script that automates processes? Emanuela will show how a Mature Design System combined with DesignOps can help medium and large products scale. Emanuela stresses that what matters most is to maintain a constant conversation with your users.

Anton&Irene, Erika Hall, and Mike Kus will also be speaking at WebExpo 2017. We’re counting on seeing you September 22–23rd! Do you have your ticket yet?


Glimpse behind the scenes of preparations for the conference WebExpo 2018 (Prague, September 21-22, 2018)

Monika Trojanová

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Glimpse behind the scenes of preparations for the conference WebExpo 2018 (Prague, September 21-22, 2018)